Message from President Hideo Ohno - April 1, 2021

Dear students, faculty and staff -

It's been a little over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to reconsider how we do things, how we behave and how we engage with each other. Through it all, Tohoku University has put in place a wide variety of infection prevention measures on campus, aimed at keeping everyone safe, while also maintaining a high standard of academic activities.

I'm sure you are all aware that Miyagi recently declared a state of emergency due to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the prefecture, especially around Sendai city. To reflect our need to be more vigilant, the university's emergency action plan (BCP) has been raised to Level 3 from April 1.

This means that classes, in general, will be conducted online. In cases where in-person instruction is necessary, infection prevention measures must be in place. Students who have not received instructions about their classes should consult their professors or departments.

Research activities must be strictly supervised by each department. Only essential personnel should be in the lab and every effort must be made to minimize the time spent there.

Extracurricular, club and volunteer activities remain suspended for the time being, unless they can be held online. Important university events should also be held online or postponed. Exceptions will be rare and can only be made with the expressed approval of the dean of the relevant faculty or school.

For faculty members and staff, online meetings are preferred and encouraged; and non-essential business trips should be cancelled or postponed.

On the administrative front, some staff will continue to telecommute or work staggered shifts, where possible. Staff working from home will have remote access to resources and meetings, so there should be minimal disruption to the daily workflow.

In addition to the points above, all basic infection prevention measures - such as wearing a mask at all times and practicing physical distancing and good hygiene - must of course, still apply.

Let me reassure you that while there is always risk during a pandemic, the risk of infection from classes - especially when safety protocols are followed - appears to be relatively low. Based on the trends around the country this past year, most cases are caused by off-campus activities such as large social gatherings, dinner and drinking parties and karaoke sessions.

So I'd like to urge all of you, as we begin a new academic year, to take all infection prevention measures and guidelines seriously, on and off campus. Let's always do what we can, to keep ourselves, each other and those around us safe.

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